Yellowstone National Park currently issues activity-based CUAs for the following activities. Please select an activity-based CUA for a detailed operating plan.
Guided Bicycle Tours
CUA holders can conduct road-based bicycle trips and front-country hiking on boardwalk areas and trails less than ½-mile from the road.
Guided Environmental Education Tours
CUA holders can conduct road-based vehicle tours in the park, provide non-instructional photography tours, and act as a step-on guide.
Guided Skiing and Snowshoeing
CUA holders can conduct interpretive nordic skiing, telemark skiing, or snowshoeing trips.
Guided, Overnight Backcountry Trips
CUA holders can conduct overnight backcountry camping with an appropriate backcountry permit.
Guided Painting and Photography
CUA holders can conduct road-based photography and painting workshops that includes in-depth photography and/or painting instruction.
Road-based Interpretive Tours
CUA holders can conduct road-based interpretive tours for 16–25 clients. Step-on service also authorized under this CUA.
Activity-Based CUA Requirements
The authorization is issued to an operator to permit the provision of suitable commercial services to park area visitors. The superintendent determines if an operator has the ability to satisfactorily provide visitor services and carry out the terms of the CUA.
The superintendent determines that the commercial services are “suitable”; that is they (a) will have minimal impact on park area’s resources and values; (b) are consistent with the purposes for which the park area was established; and, (c) are consistent with all applicable park area management plans, policies, and regulations.
The holder must agree to comply with all of the general and specific conditions described in the CUA conditions and operating plans. You should familiarize yourself with these documents before applying for a CUA.
All activity-based CUAs are issued for up to one year. The CUA operating year is from January 1 to December 31.
Applications will be accepted beginning October 1st of the year prior to the operating year and will be accepted throughout the operating year. Please submit complete application packets 45 days before your first trip in the park.
All activity-based CUA activities require $300 application fee for each service category due with the application. This fee is not refundable. The initial $300 per service application fee will be credited toward the management fee paid at the end of that operating year.
The management fee is due at the end of the operating year and is based on a percentage of the operating year’s gross receipts. This fee must be paid to the park after the park has reviewed and approved the annual report, which is submitted by January 31st, after the operating year has ended.
Management fee is based on percentage of gross receipts ($300.00 application fee for the operating year acts as a credit towards the following):
“Gross receipts” means the total of all revenues received from services a CUA holder is authorized to provide within Yellowstone National Park.
The CUA holder is responsible for maintaining accounting records that demonstrate evidence of gross receipts and required fee payment. NPS may audit CUA holder financial reports at any time.
National Park Service Policy requires the Superintendent to charge a reasonable fee for CUAs. The park retains such fees to help pay for the cost of the CUA program, including administration, evaluations, monitoring, and training.
Annual Financial Reports and Management Fee Calculation Forms, which cover the operating year and require reporting of gross receipts and visitors served for each month of that year, are due by January 31st following the end of the operating year. A separate Financial Report and Management Fee Calculation forms are required for each activity a CUA holder has a CUA for. Annual Financial Report and Management Fee Calculation forms will be available by October 1st of each operating year. The Concessions Management Office will review all Annual Report and Management Fee Calculation Fee Forms for accuracy and inform the CUA holder when payment of management fees can be made.
Road-based Commercial Tours
Traveling by vehicle on an itinerary that someone has packaged and sold for leisure purposes and provide no other services.
These include towing, tire repair, RV and RV appliance repair, locksmith, and water access.
Application Process and Insurance Needs
Here is everything you need to know about submitting a CUA application, including insurance requirements.
Last updated: September 24, 2020